Ubuntu 10.10, aka Maverick Meerkat, is bound to give Ubuntu users a big nerd on. Ashton Mills reveals the top new features in the latest version of the most popular Linux
Ubuntu 10.10, aka Maverick Meerkat, has been officially released and while we pause for a moment to think of the poor servers and mirrors getting hammered - as a if a million Ubuntu users cried out (in tears of joy) before being silenced (to the humdrum of download waiting) - you might be wondering what's new.
Here's a quick summary:
Canonical claims a more streamlined boot process (yes, improving on the already superfast Lucid boot speed) and, of course, a sparky new kernel based on 2.6.35 and bringing with it improved hardware support.
There's new themes, icons, and default wallpaper as expected, but there's also the introduction of a new system font collection designed specifically for Ubuntu, called the The Ubuntu Font Family, that's easy to read and easy on the eyes. It's certainly clean, and reminiscent of the Ubuntu logo font introduced in 10.04. For the netbook edition, a new interface design called Unity aims to make using netbooks simpler and more stylish, too.
The Software Center gets new sections for Features and What's New (tones of App Store perhaps?), an improved look that's more pleasant to browse, a new package installation history which is definitely welcome, and an interesting new trend: the ability to purchase commercial software. A test package is available, 'Ricks Wallpapers' which users can buy for $1. Proceeds are re-invested into Ubuntu development.
There's nothing we love more than the latest version of, well, anything. Meerkat comes with Gnome 2.32, OpenOffice 3.2.1, Transmission 2.04, and the latest Firefox 3.6.10 among other updates. The photo-manager F-Spot is gone now, replaced by Shotwell. Photos can be directly published to Facebook, Flickr and others, and collections made with F-Spot can be imported.
Canonical is pushing cloud computing hard with both the Desktop and Server editions of Ubuntu. For the desktop the free 2GB online storage on Ubuntu One for all Ubuntu users has been supplemented by a new, cheaper, pricing structure (upgrade to 20GB for $US2.99) and the addition of both a Windows client (for cross-OS syncing) and both iPhone and Android clients, along with a new streaming service to stream music from your cloud collection to your smartphone.
All up, it sounds like a worthy upgrade. Speaking of which, if you don't want to do a clean install you can upgrade to 10.10 from within 10.04 itself via the Update Manager - but as 10.04 is an LTS (Long Term Support) release, you'll first need to tell it you want to: click System --> Administration --> Software Sources, then under the Updates tab set 'Check for new distribution releases' to 'Normal Releases'. Click Close and run the Update Manager and you'll be prompted to upgrade. Backup your home directory and personal data first, of course, as when doing any operating system install or upgrade for your machine.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashton Mills has been using Linux since Slackware came on floppies - and before that, was one of the three people in the world who used OS/2 (and loved it). Always ready to make the most of his PC, he is constantly playing with Linux distributions and compiling the latest kernel.